Project: Training Wall MkII

In August 2018 we made the (currently questionable) decision to move to Leicester for a new set of jobs. Part of our agreement was that we should rent a 2 bed house, and that the larger room be turned into a training room in lieu of access to a wealth of London climbing gyms.

Having built a small board back at my parent’s house a few years ago (inflicting untold stress on them by drilling ruddy great holes in the the walls) I was obviously the pro, and relished the challenge to mangineer a new training board.

The requirements were as follows:

  • Free standing – tick
  • Under £200 – tick (already owned holds and beastmakers)
  • Big enough to actually be usable – tick

I had the idea and raided Wickes for 18mm ply and 4m beams, and got to work. Times like those are when I’m so glad to own an estate
I planned for this to be a very simple build with minimal cutting, I’ve not got any power tools other than an impact driver so sawing is a hassle. A simple build is actually what I got!

A large square composed of 8 610x1220mm ply panels screwed onto a lattice of 45x70x2400mm and 45x145x2400 C16 timber beams set at 20 degrees (for now) and suitably supported. I then extended the right side perpendicular to the board to facilitate hanging both BeastMaker 1000 and 2000 fingerboards complete with pulley set up. KTX Silver M5.0 50mm and 120mm screws were used – good enough for most climbing centres, good enough for me!

The Core Screw-On board footholds are excellent and force the accurate footwork required for hard climbing, it certainly takes a bit of getting used to; an aggressive pair of Scarpa Instinct slippers help.

Being a furnished house we had a spare double mattress once we’d disassembled the bed to make space, perfect pad for the training board.

The hold selection is a random assortment from Surrey Summit so if any lovely hold manufacturer wants to lavish us with gifts please feel free – we’ll advertise the hell out of you!
We just need some free weights and we’ll be fully set to get stronger and starting achieving our goals.

Callum T Climbing Services now Live!

In a keen effort to enhance my skill set, and anchor myself further within the climbing industry I have established Callum T Climbing Services!

Insured, equipped and VAT registered, I want to push professionalism in the climbing industry!

I will now be offering route setting, intermediate-level coaching and expert equipment purchasing advice to centres, organisations and individuals that require such. In 2019 I hope to also offer PPE inspections.

If you would like to know more please get in touch through the ‘Climbing Services’ tab above.

Be sure to follow my instagram callum.sketch to keep up with my escapades, and get an idea of my setting/climbing style!

Climbing Milestone!

I couldn’t resist announcing this. Headed up to the Peak District for a couple of days of serious climbing to brush up my skills ready for my impending SPA Assessment weekend (providing yet another provider doesn’t cancel on me). After 2 and half days of racking up the climbs getting myself fluid and relaxed on the Severe grades my climbing partner, Phil, had a crack at his first E1 climb the coveted Long Tall Sally (E1 5b, Burbage North). With a large amount of huffing, puffing, some incredible disco-leg action, a short rest and enough gear placed to make Dave MacLeod’s Long Hope look like a VDiff, he hefted himself over the top.

Of course that meant I had to second Sally. I worked my way up with the odd wrestle getting Phil’s well seated gear out, past the crux with little problem and calmly topped out to see the biggest smile I’ve seen from the intensely excited climber with his leg still shaking! The smile quickly faded and replaced with a “F*** sake, Sketch” when I said that I fancied giving it a lead.

I racked up, mentally going through the moves I made, whilst being casually threatened by Phil of the consequences of me flashing the route. I hashed the first attempt at getting off the floor, and the second, third time I got my hands in the right places and made for the first gear placement – a well seated Peenut, 2 feet up from there I stuck another but in, then came the move over the overhanging lip with little trouble. I found my footing after the lip and stuck the third nut in and then came the crux which was a bit anticlimactic, the only trouble was the poor footing which worked the hell out of my calf muscles, 2 more bits of gear in short succession. A reasonable sloper on the right and some more dodgy footing made the sixth nut a little less desperate, as I placed that I realised I was out of quickdraws and still had a good 2 meters left to climb!

Sufficed to say a little bit of ‘the fear’ crept in but all I had running through my mind was Wilson Pickett’s Mustang Sally! Luckily that kept me calm and I made for the left crimp, a foot in the crack enabled me to reach up to find the jug and then cruise on up to the top and over letting out a completely involuntary “WOO!”
Phil called up something crude and decided that he didn’t want to climb Sally again and would abseil down and retrieve the gear. Fair enough I’d say, climbing it once was stress enough!

Once we were finished we called it an end to the trip and made our way back to the south both agreeing it had been highly successful. Both bagging our first E1 trad leads.

Long Tall Sally Post-Climb

Long Tall Sally Post-Climb

Project: Boulder Wall

So it came to depart my adopted home of four years, Portsmouth, for the last time and move back to the droll seaside retirement town of Worthing, on the Sussex coast. Unfortunately for me this meant moving back in with the parents; although I’m working back at Peglers – nearly all of my foreseeable paycheques will be going towards my BASI Ski Instructor Course in Val d’Isere next January.

To keep myself from going crazy from the sheer boredom of living here, from day one of moving back I devised a project to build my own little bouldering wall in order to keep a high level of fitness and improve my climbing strength. The plan called for  a wall 6ft wide by 8ft tall and overhanging by 20 degrees. The beams which the frame would be built upon would be bolted solely to the one wall, as opposed to the ceiling and floor attachments similar to designs by Metolius and others.

Since starting in my spare time 2 weeks ago the frame is now complete, rigid and reinforced. I am just waiting to get a batch of nuts and bolts so that the wall panels can be prepared and then attached to the frame. From then it’ll just be a case of setting routes!

Come next weekend I’ll have a personal bouldering wall which will be invaluable in raising the standard of my climbing abilities. The value of the wall is emphasised by the lack of climbing facilities within easy reach of Worthing – the closest centres are the Adur Centre (routes reset once a year) and K2 in Crawley (overpriced and inconsistent setting), the premier southern centres of Craggy Island, Calshot and the Castle are just too far away for a casual, regular training session and so the need for a personal wall is obvious.

In financial terms the wall will have cost me approximately £300. This includes materials and climbing holds. I was fortunate enough to hear that the climbing centre at Surrey Sports Park were selling off a large number of holds for between 30-80p a piece, these included everything from tiny crimps to large jugs. I snapped up 30 holds for a mere £15 – A rare opportunity that absolutely had to be seized upon! In contrast, the Metolius 50-piece mega pack I’ve ordered through work will be costing me £81 (Trade+VAT), which equates to £1.62/hold.

**Update**
The wall is now completed! It took over 400 screws, 11 masonry bolts, and more wood than I care to think about, but it’s a complete masterpiece in my eyes. It has 96 hold locations  in a rough 20x20cm interval square grid including 4 extra locations on the edges of the upper panel. This offers a great variety of route options in both problem and circular style to ensure I get as good a training regimen as possible.

My Home Boulder Wall